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March 18, 2020

Tesla says essential employees, including production, should still come to work

CNBC has just reported an e-mail sent to Tesla employees by the company's head of human resources (HR) for North America, Valerie Workman, encouraged employees to work if they feel comfortable doing so on 18 March.

By Olly Wehring

CNBC has just reported an e-mail sent to Tesla employees by the company's head of human resources (HR) for North America, Valerie Workman, encouraged employees to work if they feel comfortable doing so on 18 March.

The email CNBC cited said Tesla had received conflicting guidance from different levels of government amid the COVID-19 pandemic and shelter in place orders in Fremont, California, where its US car plant is based. 

According to CNBC, Tesla North America HR head Workman sent an email to employees on Wednesday morning encouraging them to come to work, promising they would not be "docked" points in performance reviews if they chose to stay home, and explaining why the Fremont factory and other facilities were up and running amid a COVID-19 pandemic in and beyond California. 

The email said Tesla had received conflicting guidance from different levels of government amid the pandemic.

The EV maker reportedly was running its Fremont, California car plant on Wednesday morning despite "shelter in place" orders initiated across Alameda County (and other counties in the San Francisco Bay Area) to curb the COVID-19.coronavirus outbreak.

However, on Tuesday, Alameda County said it did not deem Tesla's Fremont plant an "essential business" and therefore expected the automaker to run it with "minimum basic operations" only – not building new cars. 

Alameda County Sheriff's Office spokesman Ray Kelly told CNBC on Wednesday: "Our directive was clear."

He reiterated that Tesla's Fremont plant was not seen as an "essential business" under the health order in place in the county.

CNBC published the entire Tesla e-mail from Wednesday morning: 

Hi Team!

We still do not have a final word from the City, County, State and, Federal Government on the status of our operations. We have had conflicting guidance from different levels of government.

Until then, we are operating with Essential Employees only while all others are working from home, and working to incorporate all CDC guidelines into our operations. 

There are no changes in your normal assignment and you should continue to report to work if you are in an essential function: production, service, deliveries, testing and supporting groups as discussed with your manager. If you are not assigned to support an essential function, your manager might suggest a temporary relocation to support essential functions, or you may need to be on call.

 If you are not feeling well, please stay at home and use PTO. If your PTO balance is low, you can borrow up to 80 hours (2 weeks), after you exhaust your PTO balance. Please inform your manager and follow the normal procedures for sick time.

If you cannot or are reluctant to come to work, you can also use your PTO. Please inform your manager. You can also take unpaid time off, after your exhaust your PTO. You will not be penalized for your decision. There will be no disciplinary action for attendance based on health or impossibility to come to work. 

We will communicate with everyone again tonight and we appreciate all you are doing to keep safe social distance.

Thank you!

Valerie

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